OIG semiannual report holds few surprises

The Health and Human Services (HHS) Office of Inspector General’s (OIG) Semiannual Report to Congress released Dec. 7 holds few surprises, according to several former OIG staff and other OIG watchers. Many familiar themes, including quality of care, payment for pharmaceuticals, and transfers and discharges are highlighted in the report. On the whole, it appears to be "less intrusive" then many earlier reports, says former OIG senior counsel Eileen Boyd, now managing partner at KPMG in Washington, DC. She says that may reflect the early influence of HHS Inspector General Janet Rehnquist, who assumed the post last summer.

Former OIG attorney Julie Kass, now a health care attorney with the Baltimore-based Ober Kaler, says the report held few surprises. The type of providers being scrutinized remains "fairly stable," she says. That list includes hospitals, skilled nursing facilities, home health agencies, and durable medical equipment suppliers, and prescription drugs companies.

Several major hospital initiatives have dropped off the list of items the OIG is reporting, including the DRG window project and outpatient lab unbundling. But Kass notes that the Physicians at Teaching Hospitals, PPS transfer, and pneumonia upcoding initiatives still appear to be active.